Entertainment

12.10.13

The Mysteries of ‘Her’: Kristen Wiig’s Phone Sex Scene, Scarlett Johansson, and More

‘Her,’ a futuristic love story directed by Spike Jonze, is one of the best films of the year. The filmmaker and star Amy Adams revealed some of the film’s secrets at a New York luncheon hosted by Peggy Siegal.

Her, filmmaker Spike Jonze’s long-awaited follow-up to Where the Wild Things Are that’s out Dec. 18, provides an embarrassment of cinematic riches. There’s Joaquin Phoenix’s riveting turn as Theodore Twombly, a romantic who’s in the throes of a depression after being dumped by his wife, played by Rooney Mara. There’s Scarlett Johansson, who breathes life into the voice-only role of Samantha, a sentient operating system that Theodore gradually falls for. There’s the the eye-catching color palette and futuristic set design, a mélange of Los Angeles and Shanghai. There’s Amy Adams, who gives a soulful turn as Amy, Theodore’s only—and equally lonely—friend. There’s the beautiful soundtrack, courtesy of Arcade Fire and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

And there’s that hilarious phone sex scene.

Early on in the film, Theodore is very, very sad. He can’t stop thinking of his ex. So, to take his mind off things, he logs into a phone sex chatroom and connects with a woman whom he thinks is a kindred spirit. The talk starts off nice and kinky. Theodore “enters” her—verbally. The woman purrs, and Theodore is getting worked up. And then… things take an unexpected turn. “Choke me with that dead cat!” the woman on the other end screams. Theodore is genuinely confused. “The dead cat by the bed… choke me with it!” she screams louder. So, he ends up playing along and painting a kinky-bizarre scenario where he’s choking the woman with the cat’s tail while they’re “having sex.” This sends his tele-hook up over the moon, and she howls with ecstasy like Kim Cattrall’s randy cheerleader in Porky’s.

And who, pray tell, provided the female voice on the other line?

“Kristen Wiig did that,” said Jonze at a New York luncheon thrown for the film by Peggy Siegal.

The writer-director also said that Wiig’s SNL pal Bill Hader provided the voice of “the man who’s pretending to be a woman” whom Theodore passes in the queue before landing on Wiig, Brian Cox provided the voice of a philosopher whom the OS Samantha connects with later in the film, and that Jonze himself served as the voice of an expletive-spewing lil alien in a video game Theodore likes to play.

“I normally can’t stop doing it,” Jonze joked of the squealing alien voice.

“Choke me with that dead cat!”

Jonze also expanded on the casting of Samantha—a role that was played by Oscar nominated actress Samantha Morton, but was then recast in post-production, with Johansson taking over.

“Originally, Samantha Morton was playing the role and she was on set,” said Jonze. “[Joaquin] was speaking to Samantha Morton the entire time—she was in his ear, in another room, and he was in her ear. Samantha is a big part of the movie because she was with us, and gave Joaquin so much and gave the movie so much. And then in post is when we decided that what we did wasn’t working, and we ended up recasting with Scarlett. [Joaquin] worked with Scarlett in post—but to help her do her part, so off-camera and off-mic with her.”

Adams also shared some insight into her character of Amy, who sports a curly red wig and, after she dumps her overbearing husband of eight years, befriends a female operating system for emotional support.

“Sometimes it was Spike, sometimes it was our script supervisor, and sometimes it was me talking to myself,” said Adams of the voice on the other line.

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Dive into the fascinating statistics behind 'Her.'

In addition to Her, Adams also has a starring role in David O. Russell’s sexy caper American Hustle as Sydney Prosser, a duplicitous con artist caught up in an FBI sting operation. Adams says she shot Her first, and then American Hustle one year after that. In fact, she says shooting on Hustle began just nine months ago.

“We didn’t even receive the final draft [of the script] until right before we had to shoot,” Adams told The Daily Beast.

The characters Adams portrays in Her and American Hustle couldn’t be bigger foils. Amy is “more introspective, more intellectual, less guttural” and considerably “de-glammed,” according to Adams, while Sydney has “such a desperate survival streak. She’s more instinctual, more fierce, and has an animalistic element about her.”

It’s a testament to the four-time Oscar nominee’s considerable talents as an actress. Plus, starring in two of the best films of the year ain’t too shabby, either.

“This is just wild,” she says, unleashing her thousand-watt smile. “I’m exhausted… but it’s worth it.”